Construction of V-back dress bodice

So, moving on from the previous post, which was a tutorial for inserting an invisible zipper into a V, here is the order of construction of bodice with zips and facings.  This is my actual dress, not a sample, so the fabric choices and details are not as clear as the previous tutorial.

1.  Here you can see my prepared bodice and facing pieces.  The front bodice is sewn to the back bodice at the shoulder seams.  The darts are sewn.  The back neckline and opening are interfaced (the only reason that the interfacing does not go all the way to the shoulder seam is that I added it as an afterthought).  The zipper opening is overlocked.

The front and back facings are fully interfaced.  The bottom edges are finished by overlocking.  The front and back facings are attached at the shoulder seams.

2.  Pin the facings to the bodice, right sides together and lining up the shoulder seams.  Stitch the armholes of the facings to the armholes of the bodice.  I only have 1/4" seam allowances here, so no need to trim.  If you have larger seam allowances you may want to trim, clip and grade these seam allowances.   I think it would be a good idea to understitch the armholes at this point.  I did it later, but I think it would be easier here.

3.  Stitch the facings to the bodice at the neckline.  Leave half of the back neckline open to allow for the zipper insertion.  If you look carefully at the photographs, you can see my thread tails where I stopped stitching on the back neck line.  Again, it would probably be a good idea to understitch the front neck line now.

Trim, clip and grade the seam allowance on the front neckline, if required.

4.  Pull one of the backs through to the front, turning right side out, through the shoulder seam.

 5. Repeat for the other back.

6.  Mark the placement of the zipper stop on the outside of the back bodice pieces, as per the previous tutorial.

7.  Pin the zipper in place, placing the stops right on the mark.  The zip is right side to the right side of the bodice, zipper teeth facing away from the edges.  My zipper tape is only 3/8" wide, not 1/2" wide, which is why they are not lined up on the edges.

8.  Baste the zipper in place with a regular zipper foot.

9.  Do up the zipper and check that nothing is twisted or misaligned.

10.  Undo the zipper again and sew in place using an invisible zipper foot.

11.  Mark 1/4" in from the edge of the back facing (remember that the back facing has NO seam allowance on the back seam).

12.  Line up the facing and seam allowance of the back bodice on the 1/4" mark.  This will be your stitching line.  Stitch the facing to the seam allowance using a regular zipper foot.  The zip will be sandwiched between the facing and the bodice seam allowance.  You may wish to refer to the previous tutorial to see this more clearly.

13.  Fold the bodice on the CB seam line, so that the edges of the facing and bodice are aligned.

14.  Stitch the facing and bodice together along the back neckline, joining up with your previous stitching in Step 3.

15.  Turn facing to inside.

16.  Understitch as far as practicable.

17.  Now the side seams of the facings and bodice can be sewn together in a single pass.  You can see that I have two side darts on my front bodice.

I have not attached the skirt of the dress or sewn the zip all the way down.  I drafted this bodice as part of a craftsy class and I haven't actually decided what sort of skirt to stick on it yet.  Hopefully I will get to that later this week!  Then I can show you the completed bodice on me.


  1. Gah! That fabric! This is going to be super cool.

  2. Thanks for sharing - looking forward to seeing the finished dress

  3. I always learn something when I visit your blog! Thanks for taking the time to share your processes xxx